Practical Creativity: Lateral Thinking Techniques Applied to Television Production Education

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This article suggests methods for teaching creative television production techniques while simultaneously providing technical training in equipment operation and standard production practices. The suggested methods are four lateral thinking techniques - the random word, simple focus, stratals and the filament technique. In a case study, these techniques were applied in two assignments given to students in an intermediate television production course. Twelve group productions, 42 editing assignments and 42 papers on television aesthetics were completed. Responses to self-assessment items on anonymous questionnaires distributed at the end of the course indicated that most students (between 61% and 100%) felt competent in 13 of 14 equipment operation skills covered in the course. Most students (84%) rated their ability to operate complex video production equipment between 'adequate' and 'strong'. Most of the students (92%) rated the group production assignment between 'some value' and 'extremely valuable'; most (85%) rated the individual editing assignment between 'some value'and 'extremely valuable'; and most (79%) rated writing the paper between 'some value' and 'extremely valuable'. Most students (71%) recommended repeating the experimental assignments in subsequent semesters and almost two thirds (65%) preferred the experimental or a mix of experimental and traditional assignments. The author concludes that lateral thinking techniques can be used successfully to teach creative television production, technical equipment operation, and standard production practices. Lateral thinking can also contribute to education in other fields, such as engineering, which value technical training and creative thinking. Although some students may resist nontraditional approaches, most students will appreciate and sometimes even prefer them.

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International Journal of Engineering Education

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